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Beating Obesity, the Old-Fashioned Way

Posted Jun 08 2010 12:09pm
By Ian Robinson 06/08/2010

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Having trouble fitting into your old favorite jeans? Don’t like the body you see in the mirror? I know it’s painful… You’ve followed the official USDA advice for healthy eating but you’re more tired and out of shape. You’ve tried every diet out there but you’re still losing the “battle of the bulge”. You’re not alone: there are 65 million Americans who are now obese. But you could never become obese, right? Wrong! There’s a thin line between ‘being out of shape’ and becoming obese. And this is the scary truth: if you’re not obese today you could well be tomorrow.

But you don’t have to be. One simple truth can give you a body better than you had in your 20’s. And not just that: you’ll feel healthier and more alive than you ever have before. Just one easy mental adjustment is all takes. It won’t cost you money or hours in the gym. There’s no complicated calories to count… it’s an easy lifestyle change that anyone can make. And the truth is so simple and obvious, everybody knows it. In fact, we always have. We’ve just forgotten it.

Forget what you think you know about modern healthy eating. The truth to good health lies in the origins of our species. It’s time to remember the truth… it’s time to re-discover the “secrets of the cavemen”.

Eating for Health, Caveman Style

Finding the secret of weight loss is as elusive as the discovery of fire was to our stone-age ancestors. But our cave-man cousins figured out how to make fire. And they also knew how to stay slim and disease free. As hard as it is to believe, our primitive ancestors knew the real secret to fitness and robust health. It’s a secret that we’ve always known as a species, but one that too many of us have forgotten. We will share that secret with you.

This secret formula for healthy living is about as easy to understand as cave paintings on a wall.
You don’t have to worry about counting calories, weighing out portions, or measuring amounts.
All you have to do is listen to your body and apply some age-old wisdom.

You’re a stone’s throw away from enjoying good health.

Secrets of the Stone Age

Cavemen didn’t deal with diabetes, cancer, or heart disease. They didn’t suffer from bad backs and spare tires. Instead, fossil records show they had firm muscles and healthy bodies, according to Dr. Loren Cordain, a leading authority on Paleolithic diets.

OK - cavemen may have enjoyed robust fitness, but they lived short lives, right? Not according to Dr. Staffan Lindeberg of the University of Lund, Sweden.

“This is a misunderstanding,” said Dr. Lindeberg. “Average life expectancy at birth was rather low, but once they reached 50 they may have had a similar chance of living until old age as in modern societies.”

In other words: they enjoyed full lives, agile and active until they died. And – barring accidents - they lived lives as long as ours.

So, logically, evolution has changed the species? The cavemen died out. We’re the sickly mechanized-dependent descendents of them: ostensibly similar but intrinsically different, right? Not according to Dr. Cordain.

“The human genetic makeup is identical to that of Stone Agers,” said Dr. Cordain. “Those people were optimally adapted to the types of foods they could gather or hunt, and there’s no evidence to suggest that modern humans are any different.”

So, if our ancestors were just like us, why are we so different? The answer, simply put, is evolution. But not the evolution of man: the evolution of his diet.

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Survival of the Fittest

Our stone-age ancestors ate only what the natural world offered them. They had no choice. They ate the food that fell from the trees or the living creatures they could spear. Processed, artificially enriched foods were 2 million years ahead of them. Farming only took shape 10,000 years ago. And as farming became more robust, our health became less so. We gained weight, lost height, and discovered diseases.

“Neolithic, industrial-era and modern-era foods… underlie virtually all the chronic diseases of civilization: coronary heart disease, hypertension, type-2 diabetes, gout, obesity, acne… and breast, colon and prostate cancer,” said Cordain.

Archaeological records tie the birth of modern human diseases to the same time that our diets became farming-based. Archeologists visited the ancient burial mounds of 800 native peoples in the Illinois and Ohio River valleys. They found a direct correlation between the change in diet and health.  As corn became their main dietary staple, they experienced a 50 percent increase in malnutrition, a fourfold increase in iron deficiency, and a threefold increase in infectious disease.

Back to the Future

Our diet changed and our health suffered. It’s a simple as that. Up to 15,000 years ago, our diet consisted of: lean meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, berries, seeds, and nuts. With the advent of the agricultural era our diet has become grain-based, chock full of simple carbohydrates like pasta and bread. Our staples are refined cereals, sugars and diary products. It’s a diet wildly at odds with what we were designed to eat. Our bodies can’t properly process the modern foods and with them, come disease and physical breakdown… which takes us back to those government recommendations.

According to the USDA’s food pyramid, we’re advised to eat six to 11 servings of grain-based foods each day. Grain-based foods are high in starch and carbs and include bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. The food pyramid positions grain-based foods as the foundation of a healthy diet.

It’s advice that directly impacts modern human health. Long-accepted wisdom tells us that high-carb and low-fat diets promote good health. Except they don’t.

“There is increasing evidence to indicate that the type of diet recommended in the USDA’s food pyramid is discordant with the type of diet humans evolved with over eons of evolutionary experience,” said Dr. Cordain. “Both the fossil record and studies of hunter-gatherers indicate that humans rarely, if ever, ate cereal grains. Nor did they eat diets high in carbohydrates.”

Harvard School of Public Health nutritionists have also criticized USDA pyramid recommendation. They also argue it places too high a bias on carbs and fails to distinguish between refined and complex carbs.

A very simple argument is this: in the time that we have followed USDA pyramid, disease and obesity have skyrocketed. There’s obviously a connection.

Several studies support this simple argument with research and published findings.

One study compared four different diets and reviewed health and weight-loss benefits. Diets included the: Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitudes, Relationships, and Nutrition (LEARN) Diet (as based on the U.S. National Health guidelines - low in fat and high in carbs); Atkins Diet (low in carbs, high in fat); Zone Diet; and Ornish Diet. The study ran for 12 months and eventually concluded that: the Atkins Diet caused the greatest weight loss. The low-carb diet also boasted the best health effects on blood lipid levels and for lowering blood triglycerides.

Dr. Michael Colgan, of the Colgan Institute, Vancouver, reviewed the findings. He concluded: “the very complicated high carbohydrate LEARN diet that is the U.S. National Health recommendation, is not worth the bother. In fact numerous health professionals now suspect that the LEARN diet is partly responsible for the ballooning overweight of the American population.”

Another study followed the dietary habit of 80,000 women over 20 years . The study was conducted by Harvard researchers. It reviewed the effects of a grain-based, high-carb diet on heart health. The results indicated that women on a low-carb diet cut their risk of heart disease by 30 percent.

Going Caveman, Battling Diabetes

The LEARN Diet promotes low-fat and high carb eating. This diet supports the USDA recommendation, pushing a grain-based diet.

However, high-carb foods raise blood sugar levels. Raised blood sugar levels kick up your pancreas, which in turn raises blood insulin levels.

Insulin tells your body that food is necessary for survival. Your body will therefore store excess calories as fat. The more insulin your body produces, the more fat it stores. And you pile on the pounds. Obesity can play a major part in developing diabetes…

A third study showed a clear link between ‘caveman diets’ and fighting diabetes. Lund University in Sweden conducted a study which revealed that adopting a primal diet could prevent diabetes. The study ran for 12 weeks and compared two groups of glucose-intolerant heart patients. The first group followed a Paleolithic diet; the second ate a conventional low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet.

The result? The primal diet group had normal blood glucose levels. The low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet group had increased blood sugar levels.

“If you want to prevent or treat diabetes type-2, it may be more efficient to avoid modern foods than to count calories or carbohydrates,” said study leader Dr. Staffan Lindeberg.

Living Like a Caveman

Going primal can change your life. Don’t be duped by the National Health recommendations. If you start to revise your diet today, you can shrink your waist size, enjoy robust fitness… even combat heart disease and diabetes.

And implementing a caveman diet is easy to do. Here’s a guide to the foods you should seek out – and those you should avoid.

Foods to Run After:

  • Lean meat
  • Fish
  • Fruit
  • Vegetables
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Dried Fruits

Foods to Flee From:

  • Grains
  • Pasta
  • Oats
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Cereals
  • Beans
  • Peanuts
  • Dairy products
  • Starchy veggies (including potatoes)

In part two we review the USDA recommendations, and bust popular myths about what you should and shouldn’t be eating…

To your health,


Ian Robinson,
Managing Editor, Total Health Breakthroughs

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